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Looking for the right CMS? Here's a checklist

CMS Checklist

When you’re in the market for a new content management system, you can keep your publishers, developers and marketing teams happy by reading this first.

These days, nobody expects to take training... We're all used to downloading a new app and using it right away. If [your CMS] is not intuitive enough to use without opening a manual, no one's going to use it.
Melissa Webster, Vice President of Content and Digital Media Technologies, International Data Corporation

Most marketers recognize that a content management system (CMS) is a key part of building a successful digital experience platform. This is borne out by the data, showing that as of January 2021, there were over 64 million live websites using a CMS. This can put pressure on teams to choose the right right CMS option.

It can be helpful to make a checklist with requirements you can look for to make the right decision for your business. Every point on your list should speak to the stakeholders your CMS will need to satisfy. The three most important groups are editorial teams, content marketers and developers. In this piece, we go into detail on some of the CMS capabilities to look for that will be helpful to your stakeholders.

How to choose the right CMS

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CMS checklist for editorial teams
The editorial team members who author content are a central part of the publishing process, so it’s important they have the right tools. If it’s faster and easier for them to create great content, they can produce a higher volume and achieve higher quality for the best content experiences.
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A CMS that’s intuitive, customizable, and designed for the work, such as by having a rich text editor and drag-and-drop functionality.
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Digital asset management (DAM) capabilities that make it simple to view, edit and manage all assets.
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Powerful integrations to seamlessly augment content and the option to leverage pre-developed plug-ins
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Modular content, which turns content into its smallest usable component and can help to assemble content in various ways for faster presentation.

How to choose the right CMS

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CMS checklist for marketing teams
Once content is developed, communications teams face the task of sharing it to the right people in the right ways. Choosing a CMS that fits their needs can make the process of distributing content easier so that the content has the greatest business impact.
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Multisite capabilities to centrally manage content on multiple sites while maintaining brand consistency.
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The option to use a headless CMS, which makes it easy to distribute consistent content to any device or channel.
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The ability to customize content by region and language to easily manage global teams and audiences.
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Page-management and page-building tools to make it easier to display and reorganize content, using features like style groups and content templates.
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Powerful workflow capabilities to organize tasks and people to ensure control over the publishing and distribution process.

How to choose the right CMS

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CMS checklist for development teams
Developers, IT, and other technical professionals are also an important part of a great content experience process. When given the tools to work quickly and seamlessly with their editorial colleagues, they can deliver technical solutions that move content business forward.
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Front-end freedom of choice, allowing developers to use a headless, decoupled or traditional CMS architecture—or even a hybrid model—depending on what works best for their situation.
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The option to use headless or decoupled systems, which allow developers to work on the front and back ends independently, with the tools they want, and not have to worry about downtime.
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Modern APIs, which make integrations easy and allow the CMS to work with other tools and even other CMS systems.
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A future-proofed CMS that can evolve through integrations so developer teams don’t have to worry about needing to undergo significant reworking down the line.
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Options such as configurable workflows that give editorial teams control over publishing, minimizing IT requests and giving developers freedom to focus on strategic work.

How to choose the right CMS: Conclusion

Industry experts agree that a CMS is a key part of any organization’s MarTech stack. There are many considerations when choosing a CMS, and there are solutions that can deliver it all. It's clear today that content is integral to the success of the entire business, so by thinking about business needs and how a CMS can meet them, leaders can make the right CMS choice. It’s also important to keep in mind that organizations can choose a new CMS that augments one they already have so that they don’t need to rip and replace, and a good CMS will enable integrations so they can keep adding and making changes as company and industry standards evolve. At Brightspot we know that there’s many ways to build a CMS solution that’s perfect for your organization’s unique needs, and we’re happy to help get you there.

Start building in a free trial environment, see a demo, or talk to an expert—select one of these paths and start however you would like to!

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